Archive for 2004
I sorted my ramen noodle packets by the colors of the visible spectrum.
Alexander was bad — in a stomach-churning sort of bad. In a “glancing at watch every five minutes” sort of bad. As of today, it’s garnered a cumulative 14% rating from 118 professional reviewers. But hey, don’t let that keep you from seeing it.. ..I think I’m going to write to director and co-writer Oliver Stone and personally request that he refund my $9.00. There were four minutes of great footage in this 3-hour train wreck of a movie. Save yourself and rent Troy instead!
Best Alexander quote I’ve heard:
You could literally chop Alexander up into six 30-minute blocks, reassemble it at random, and the movie would make the exact same amount of sense (i.e. none). — Scott Weinberg, efilmcritic.com
My web site has finally been transferred away from my old hosting provider, so I will begin my diatribe. I don’t usually disparage companies or people in public, but I thought I’d make an exception with Yahoo Web Hosting. I canceled my account with them last Thursday (that’s six days ago, for those of you in Rio Linda), and up until this morning, they still hadn’t released my domain name back to the original registrar. Six Days. Polite e-mails to their tech support center went unanswered. Phone calls were unproductive. Results were just not happening.
Finally, a call placed this morning yielded real results. I hit the jackpot and actually talked to someone who knew what he was doing. I swear, if they hired qualified, knowledgeable people, the average call could be cut in half and they could afford to pay their employees more. They would attract better applicants, turnover would decrease, and they wouldn’t have to keep as many unqualified people. But I digress. The man I talked with today knew what to do, and released my domain name back to the registrar within the hour. An hour or so later, my web site was up and running again with my new hosting provider, A-plus.net. Why Yahoo didn’t release my domain the day I canceled my account, I have no idea. I absolutely love A-plus.net. They have a singular focus — web hosting and domains — and are infinitely better than Yahoo. Yahoo, on the other hand, does everything under the sun — they do everything, but do nothing well.
I went to see Pedro the Lion last night at the Black Cat. Talk about lack of pretension. Lead Lion David Bazan was out with the roadies setting up equipment for the band that opened for him. He seemed so unassuming and normal; it was scary. Bazan is now a married man with a child, thinning hair, a noticeable belly, and a quasi-truck-driver/logger appearance. But his sad, morose, sincere lead vocals had many in the crowd dropping their jaws. His songwriting frequently hit so close to home, that I came away learning things about myself. He told me things about myself that I was unaware of.
I started the night about five or six rows back, and by the end of the set, I was front and center and could not have been closer. Bazan looked over the audience — he sort of squinted and occasionally twitched his left eye as if he were using it to concentrate on a chord or a lyric. The band was competent but Bazan misplayed a couple of chords here and there, and there was infrequent improvisation. No frills, no gimmicks, no look-at-me guitar solos or dancing around. I guess Pedro the Lion can be considered a Christian Elliott Smith, but with an edge.
After the show (after I tried unsuccessfully to procure the set-list), I talked with Bazan’s sister, Rochelle, who was selling Pedro the Lion merchandise in the back. She told me Bazan uses a lot of fiction (parables, if you will) to get messages across in songs. I asked her about David’s like or dislike of the word Christian; she told me he struggles with the word, and its implications. Some media outlets have tried to give the word a negative connotation. The media promotes the small percentage of Christians who are controversial or hypocritical, or focuses on the sin(s) of a particular Christian, as if the failings of one person discredit a belief. What was I talking about? Oh yes, the enigmatic band/persona Pedro the Lion. An acquired taste, but I strongly recommend it. [ more concert reviews ]
I found an article about the facts of outcome-based education. My thoughts:
If we must resort to having our schools attempt to improve the self-esteem of children, it must mean that these children are arriving at school with feelings of self-doubt and underdeveloped egos. Simply telling a child he is valuable will not cut it. It is akin to telling an injured person “you are not hurting.” If a child isn’t valued and loved at home, what the child needs is positive attention, not lectures on self-worth. The assurances may be well meaning, but it should not be the school’s responsibility to indoctrinate feelings into children. Respect from others must come first from family and friends, and should be only a secondary reinforcement in school.
Some say that a person will be more likely to cope with certain situations if they are convinced that they are effective. But in this case, perception is NOT reality. The “relatively errorless progression” is the bane of outcome-based education because it encourages not the mastery of knowledge, but feelings. “Feelings, attitudes, and skills such as learning to work together in groups will become just as important as learning information — some reformers would argue more important.” (Closson) I’m most concerned with the idea of an “errorless” outcome. Telling a child he is correct when he is not and changing the rules as one goes along will not prepare that child for the work environment, where employers and deal-makers won’t give a rat’s rear end about “feelings”. Employers will not rate employees on a curve or cater to the lowest common denominator.
Visits to my Bush daughters poll have increased over 3000% since last week. I’m keeping the polls open late and I won’t rest until all the votes are counted. Ha ha. I really need to find a way to automate the results…
Why did Yahoo call Nevada before New Mexico or Ohio?!? This makes no sense whatsoever, as Nevada at the time had a smaller percentage of precincts reporting and had a smaller Bush lead. Sigh … I just realized this: 1972 was the last election year that the Republican party didn’t have a Bush or a Dole on the presidential ticket.
Matt’s election eve prediction: Bush up 2.3% in the national popular vote; Bush up 295 to 243 in the Electoral College.